‘Blessed Bedzzz’ providing Edgefield’s children with better sleep

“Let’s go!” (on mission) doesn’t necessarily have to mean traveling great distances. For Joel Jolly, it meant starting an outreach ministry to meet essential needs of children in his own city and county.

When the retired owner of convenience stores and deacon at Edgefield First Baptist learned that some children in Edgefield County did not have adequate beds to sleep on, he encouraged his church and the local Baptist association: “Let’s go” get beds for them.

With the help of Pastor Aaron Tripp and Director of Missions Tim Shull of Edgefield Association, Jolly started “Blessed Bedzzz” last year. Edgefield First and the association’s other 20 churches since have raised more than $42,000, devoting their annual missions offering to the outreach effort.

Teaming up with Serta Simmons Mattress Manufacturing and retailer Just Beds in North Augusta, along with the Edgefield County School District, Blessed Bedzzz has distributed 190 new beds — with frames, sheets, pillows and Bibles.

“The churches in the association heard about how we were delivering beds all over the place, and money kept coming,” Jolly said. His five sons and other volunteers even set up the beds for families.

“Word got around, and neighboring counties tacked on an additional 50 beds,” Jolly said. “It is still going!”

Shull believes Blessed Bedzzz is a good example of a ministry begun by “thinking of something that maybe one would not have normally thought about.”

The churches of Edgefield Association have distributed 190 new beds with sheets, frames, pillows, and Bibles to students.

“We often think of food and clothes — and those things, of course, are very important. And we sometimes think of shelter and home repairs,” he said, noting the association’s “Churches Changing Community” ministry. “But focusing on something as integral as sleep is something that was kind of a new thought,” he said.

“And sleep matters,” he added. “If a child doesn’t get any sleep or isn’t getting good sleep, then we can’t expect them to do well in school or be interested in so many things. Their health, growth and physical development are highly dependent on good sleep.

“Plus, they are getting a Bible and the witness of the church,” he emphasized. “They’re getting a reminder that they are not on their own, that somebody does care for them, and somebody did help them.”

Blessed Bedzzz has also been a tangible witness to the local schools and community.

God has continued opening doors for the new ministry, Jolly said. “The doors were just swinging wide open for us!” he said. “I don’t care what we asked for, God gave it to us. He gave us a truck; He gave us a trailer. It’s just one thing after another.”

A local commercial property owner even heard that Blessed Bedzzz needed somewhere to store beds temporarily and donated a 5,000-square-foot warehouse.

“It’s just amazing how many things have worked out exactly the right way to make it all work,” Jolly added.